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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Heckscher Playground

Linden St. bet. Central Ave. and Wilson Ave.


Directions via Google Maps

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This playground is named for August Heckscher (1848-1941), real estate magnate, financier, philanthropist, and grandfather of August Heckscher (1913-1997), Parks Commissioner under Mayor John V. Lindsay (1921-2000, mayor 1966-73). Heckscher the elder was born in Hamburg, the son of the German Minister of Justice in the provisional German government. He studied in Switzerland and served as an apprentice at an export house in Hamburg, then moved to New York in 1867. Heckscher spoke no English when he arrived, so he joined the Mercantile Library at Astor Place in Lower Manhattan and reportedly taught himself to read the language in three weeks. Heckscher then began pursuing his fortunes, first running a coal mine near Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and later in zinc plants in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Sussex County, New Jersey. In the early 1900s, Heckscher grew interested in Manhattan real estate, and after a few initial investment blunders, reaped millions in profits.

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Heckscher Playground

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